Billionaire enviro-liberal Tom Steyer should thank his earth-healing, universalist, Less-Than-Supreme Being that the planet’s survival isn’t dependent on his business influence or political expenditures, because they have been massive flops.
Take, for example, “Risky Business,” his venture (along with figureheads Henry Paulson and Michael Bloomberg) introduced in late June to pressure businesses, investors and policymakers to account for vast planning costs for impending global warming effects in their financial reports. Initial media coverage of the contrived project made it appear that it would exert major influence in the corporate world. But while the scheme attempted to show intellectual rigor and nonpartisan analysis, Risky Business was easily revealed to be nothing more than another deeply biased construction to drive a political agenda.
A month after its introduction – accompanied by a New York Times op-ed by Paulson and interviews by Steyer and Bloomberg – and Risky Business was already fizzling. Now, two months later, it appears to be evaporating into irrelevance.
Steyer utilizes the staff from his nonprofit Next Generation to keep Risky Business alive and relevant, but the Web site has quickly gone dormant. The project’s blog featured just three posts in the month of July, when you’d think Steyer would want the big bucks he spent to create the report to get the most bang. Worse, the entries were nothing original – just links to op-eds written by Risky Business “risk committee” members Henry Cisneros, Robert Rubin and Donna Shalala.
That was followed in August with only a single entry for the entire month – a link to a Des Moines Register op-ed written by Cargill executive chairman Greg Page. Whether you accept the alarmist position on global warming or not, there is no dearth of Internet material that could be used to populate a blog with regurgitated information, as many Web sites (including Next Generation) do.
Even more surprising is the fact that Risky Business hasn’t issued any media notices since the release of the original report on June 24. Consider that Steyer (and perhaps Paulson and Bloomberg) probably spent six or seven figures on the production of the Risky Business report to build up policy pressure on public companies to adopt climate change measures. With such little activity on the media and Web fronts, no corporation is feeling any heat to do anything.
So that’s Steyer’s business effort – what about his campaign activism? There also we find weaknesses in influence and credibility. As NLPC mentioned a month ago, he pledged to raise $50 million from other donors to match his own $50 million in contributions to climate-conscious Democrat candidates, via his NextGen Climate Action Committee. Politico reported two weeks ago that only $1.7 million has come in, compared to the $11.6 million Steyer has delivered so far. The feeble response is illustrative more of an egomaniac with significantly more bluster than political muscle, but Steyer had an explanation.
“We have gotten a lot of people who I think would put in money alongside us as opposed to through us,” Steyer said at a conference in Aspen, Colo. “Because I think people like — particularly people when they think they’re spending a lot of money — like to feel as if they have some control over it, and if it’s their effort.”
That’s baloney, as there are PACs all over the place for wealthy liberals to give their money to – and they do. But they’re not giving it to NextGen.